Match ends, Ross County 1, Motherwell 0.
Motherwell can only blame themselves - and not refereeing decisions - for their Scottish Premiership loss to Ross County, says manager Stephen Robinson.
Ross Stewart got the only goal from the penalty spot for County, while Liam Donnelly missed from 12 yards for Motherwell after the break.
The visitors then had Callum Lang sent off in the closing minutes.
"We lost the game in the first 15 minutes, after that we dominated," Robinson said.
"We've two great chances that if we score, I believe we go on and win the game. There were a lot of positives for me in terms of applying, creating chances and some good stuff but if you don't take your chances, you don't win football matches.
"Ultimately how we started the game cost us. I don't think it was any decision the referee made."
County's goal was reward for their pressure in the opening quarter of the game with Harry Paton and Stewart having tested Trevor Carson before Declan Gallagher was penalised.
The ball fell to Paton, who took a touch before being clattered by the defender, and Gallagher could have little complaint about his booking. Stewart finished high to Carson's left.
But Motherwell, third last season, could have equalised moments later when Christopher Long charged through the inside right channel and fired a shot against the near post.
Wigan loanee Lang was introduced for his debut in place of Mark O'Hara at half-time, then Sherwin Seedorf took over from Jake Hastie and the two substitutes combined when Seedorf's delivery found Lang cantering towards goal, but Laidlaw was well placed to scoop away the forward's header.
Long's replacement Jordan White then had his jersey tugged by Coll Donaldson, causing Nick Walsh to point to the spot a second time, but Donnelly could not hit the target.
Walsh had one more significant call to make when Lang cynically felled Michael Gardyne as County broke and the referee had no hesitation in producing a red card.
Man of the match - Ross Stewart
What did we learn?
A tale of two penalties in the end but the lack of efforts from open play is perhaps indicative of how little match practice these sides have had in recent months.
With Stuart Kettlewell now in sole charge of County after Steven Ferguson moved into the chief executive role, consolidation is their mission and Kettlewell opted for attack as the best form of defence with Stewart, Billy Mckay and Lee Erwin starting. It worked.
On the plus side for Well, Carson showed he is still a dependable presence in goal even after a near two-year absence with deep vein thrombosis while David Turnbull got another 83 minutes under his belt after making a first start in 15 months following knee surgery.
What did they say?
Ross County manager Stuart Kettlewell: "The remit was to come away with three points. We always believe in ourselves, especially at home.
"We defended our penalty box reasonably well. We have to trust ourselves a wee bit more in possession. We've ridden our luck with the missed penalty. All in all it's a good night for us."
Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson: "Callum Lang's got a great chance and anywhere but where he headed it, it's a goal.
"I've not seen the red card back. It looked a red card from where I was. I think it was more out of exuberance and enthusiasm but he catches him and again you give the referee a decision to make."
Ross County are Hamilton Academical's first visitors of the season on Saturday, when Motherwell play their first home game of the campaign against Premiership newcomers Dundee United.
- 43ReidBooked at 77mins
- 24PatonBooked at 56minsSubstituted forGardyneat 65'minutes
- 22TillsonSubstituted forShawat 83'minutes
- 10ErwinSubstituted forCharles-Cookat 75'minutesBooked at 90mins
- 9MckaySubstituted forDraperat 83'minutes
- 31GallagherBooked at 23mins
- 7O'HaraSubstituted forLangat 45'minutesBooked at 87mins
- 11HastieSubstituted forSeedorfat 59'minutes
- 8TurnbullSubstituted forWattat 83'minutes
- 99LongSubstituted forWhiteat 71'minutes
- Nick Walsh
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Ross County 1, Motherwell 0.
Foul by Jordan White (Motherwell).
Coll Donaldson (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Liam Polworth (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Michael Gardyne (Ross County).
Nathan McGinley (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Regan Charles-Cook (Ross County).
Regan Charles-Cook (Ross County) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Ricki Lamie.
Attempt blocked. Regan Charles-Cook (Ross County) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Michael Gardyne with a through ball.
Attempt missed. Jordan White (Motherwell) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Liam Polworth with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Coll Donaldson.
Callum Lang (Motherwell) is shown the red card.
Foul by Callum Lang (Motherwell).
Michael Gardyne (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Alex Iacovitti.
Attempt blocked. Sherwin Seedorf (Motherwell) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Attempt missed. Ross Stewart (Ross County) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.
Foul by Liam Donnelly (Motherwell).